Kentucky Psychology Licensure Requirements
If you are interested in becoming a psychologist in Kentucky, you will need to meet all of the requirements set forth by the Board of Examiners of Psychology (the Board), the state organization that oversees psychology licensure. These requirements include earning a doctoral degree in psychology, completing a certain number of supervised work hours, passing three exams, and submitting an application to the Board. Because there are many steps to becoming a licensed psychologist in Kentucky, we’ve prepared this guide to walk you through each part of the process.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Licensed Psychologist
- Licensure by Reciprocity
- License Renewal and Continuing Education
- Related Licenses
- Jobs and Salary Information
- Additional Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions
- License Renewal and Continuing Education
How to Become a Psychologist in Kentucky
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree and (optionally) a master’s degree in psychology
The first step to becoming a psychologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree in any subject; you are not required to study psychology at this stage, but if you do not, you may need to complete additional prerequisites before entering a graduate program. Bachelor’s degrees generally take four years of full-time study (about 120 credit hours) to complete.
After you complete your bachelor’s degree, you may choose to complete an optional stand-alone master’s degree in psychology. This is not a required step, and you may earn a master’s degree while you are enrolled in your doctoral program. However, a stand-alone master’s degree in psychology can be a helpful option if you did not study psychology for your bachelor’s degree or if you would like more experience to make sure psychology is the right path for you before applying to doctoral programs. Although requirements can vary between programs, master’s degrees in psychology typically take about two years (30-40 credit hours) to finish, and may be focused on general psychology or one of its specialty areas.
Another reason to get your master’s in psychology in Kentucky is that you can become licensed as a psychological associate with just a master’s degree, which allows you to practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. To be eligible for a psychological associate license, you must earn a master’s degree from a psychology program at a regionally-accredited institution that includes 600 hours of supervised work experience and coursework in specific core areas as well as the area(s) of specialty for which you are seeking certification: clinical, counseling, school, or industrial/organizational psychology. You can read more about the coursework requirements on the Application for Licensure as a Psychological Associate.
2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology, including coursework in your chosen area of specialty.
When you have finished your bachelor’s degree (and, optionally, a master’s degree in psychology), the next step towards becoming a psychologist in Kentucky is to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. There are three degrees that will qualify you to be a psychologist in Kentucky: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology, a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Psychology, or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. Completing a PhD, an EdD, or a PsyD usually takes four to seven years, depending on the requirements of the program you attend. For more information on the differences between PsyD and PhD degrees, please visit this page.
In Kentucky, you must earn your doctoral degree from a regionally-accredited psychology program that requires at least three semester hours of practicum work and fulfills certain coursework requirements in core areas and in the area(s) of specialty for which you are seeking certification, which includes clinical, counseling, school, or industrial/organizational psychology. You can read more about coursework requirements on the application. The program must also include a predoctoral internship that is at least 1,800 hours long and includes at least 100 hours of supervisory sessions. This will be applied to the supervised experience required for full licensure.
Please visit our Psychology Schools in Kentucky page for more information about programs you can consider applying to.
3. Submit an application to the Board for a temporary license.
The first step in the licensure process is to complete and submit an Application for Licensure as a Psychologist to the Board. If you have not yet completed all of your supervised professional hours, you can indicate this on the last page of the form. In addition to completing the application, you will need to include three letters of recommendation from people who can attest to your work within the past five years (at least two of these letters must come from individuals with doctoral degrees in psychology) and a $200 application fee. You will also need to have your undergraduate and graduate transcripts sent to the Board.
Once your application has been approved by the Board, you will be issued a temporary license. This will allow you to finish earning your supervised hours (if needed) and take the exams required for licensure.
4. Gain two years of supervised professional experience in your area of training.
In Kentucky, you must complete at least two total years (3,600 hours) of supervised professional experience to be granted a license to practice psychology, at least 50% of which must come from activities related to providing services (e.g., intervention, note-writing, case presentations). While you are earning these hours, you must receive supervision from a licensed psychologist with the health service provider (HSP) designation.
1,800 of your supervised experience hours must be earned in the required predoctoral internship that you complete as part of your degree. At least 450 of these internship hours (25%) must come from face-to-face contact with patients; you must also receive at least two hours of supervision and two hours of didactic experiences per week. The remaining 1,800 supervision hours can come from any combination of predoctoral and postdoctoral experiences; however, introductory courses and beginner practicum placements cannot be counted. Any experiences applied towards these hours must include training in clinical skills, legal and ethical issues, and supervision.
If you are planning to complete any supervised experience hours under your temporary license, you and your supervisor must first submit a Supervisory Plans and Goals form to the Board and wait for approval before you begin practicing. You will need to plan for at least one hour of supervision per week and your supervisor will also need to submit a Supervisory Report every six months. Supervised experience hours accrued while you are still a graduate student do not require these forms.
5. Pass the Kentucky psychology licensing exams.
When the Board issues your temporary license, they will also grant you permission to take the exams required for licensure. The first test you will need to take is the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and consists of 225 multiple-choice questions covering a number of domains of psychology. You must earn a scaled score of 500 or higher to pass. You can study using the EPPP practice exam supplied by the ASPPB.
After you have passed the EPPP, the Board will provide you with instructions on taking the two state exams. One of these is a test on the rules and regulations related to mental health practice in Kentucky; you must earn a score of 80% or higher to pass. The other is an oral exam on ethical and professional principles. On this exam, you will be rated by two licensed psychologists and you need to receive a passing score from both to successfully complete the test.
6. Request your full psychology license.
After you have completed your supervision and passed all of the required exams, you will be eligible to receive your full license. If you have not already done so, complete and submit the final page of the Application for Licensure as a Psychologist, which will document any supervised experience hours you earned under your temporary license. Your EPPP and state exam scores should be automatically sent to the Board. Once they have received proof that you have completed all of the requirements, you will be required to pay a $250 licensure fee to receive your full license.
Kentucky Licensure by Reciprocity
If you are licensed as a psychologist in another state, you may be able to receive a psychology license in Kentucky through reciprocity. To be eligible for licensure by reciprocity, you must have been practicing under your current license for at least five years and either be certified by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, have a Certificate of Professional Qualification (CPQ) from the ASPPB, or have a certificate from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). If you meet these criteria, you can submit a completed Application for Licensure as a Psychologist by Reciprocity to the Board along with an application fee of $200. After your application is reviewed, you will also need to take the two state exams before being granted your license.
If you have been practicing for at least five years and do not have a CPQ or a certificate from the National Register or ABPP, you can still apply for a Kentucky license. To do this, you will complete the Application for Licensure of a Psychologist Licensed in Another State and submit it with a $200 application fee. The Board will review your education and experience and determine whether you are eligible for a psychology license in Kentucky. If they believe that you meet the necessary criteria for licensure, they will have you take the state exams before issuing your license.
License Renewal and Continuing Education
After the Board issues your license, you will need to keep it active by renewing it every three years. Each renewal period ends three years after your license was first issued or last renewed and all renewal forms must be submitted before these dates to avoid any additional fees.
To be eligible for license renewal, you will need to complete 39 hours of continuing education (CE) during each renewal period. You can consult the Board’s list of approved CE activities. If you want to attend a program that is not on this list, you can request approval in advance by completing the Continuing Education Program Application and paying a $50 fee. Graduate psychology courses can also be counted towards CE requirements.
The Board also has some requirements regarding the content of CE activities. During every renewal period, licensed psychology providers must complete three CE credits in activities related to risk assessment and ethics. If you have the HSP designation, three CE credits must come from education in supervision-related topics. Every six years (i.e., every other renewal period), all licensed providers must complete six CE credits in the prevention, assessment, and management of suicide. If you earn more than 39 CE credits in a renewal period, you cannot apply any of them to the next period.
Once you have completed all of the required CE activities, you can apply to renew your license through the Kentucky Department of Professional Licensing online portal. You will need to pay a $100 renewal fee when you complete the required forms.
Health Service Provider (HSP)
If you choose to become a licensed psychologist following the steps described previously on this page, you can also consider pursuing the health service provider (HSP) designation, which allows you to provide supervision to trainees and licensed psychological associates. To be eligible for HSP designation, you must have been practicing independently for five years and complete an additional 1,800 hours of superviison (beyond the 3,600 hours required to become a licensed psychologist). You can complete these hours while you hold your temporary license or you can earn them after you have already become a licensed psychologist. Like any postdoctoral supervised experience hours, you must have a Supervisory Plans and Goals form approved by the Board and your supervisor must periodically complete the Supervisory Report form. Once you have completed these requirements, you can contact the Board to request the HSP designation.
If you would like to practice with a master’s degree, you can become licensed as a psychological associate. To be qualified, you must have attended a regionally-accredited psychology program that includes 600 hours of supervised experience and meets certain coursework requirements. To apply for this license, you will need to submit an Application for Licensure as a Psychological Associate, three letters of recommendation (at least two from doctoral-level psychologists), and the $100 application fee. You will also need to take the EPPP and earn a score of at least 400. Once issued, the psychological associate license allows you to practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.
After five full-time years of supervised practice as a psychological associate, you can apply for licensure as a psychological practitioner. This license will allow you to complete some work independently without supervision. To convert your license from psychological associate to psychological practitioner, you will need to complete the Application for Licensure as a Psychological Practitioner and submit three letters of recommendation (one must be from your current supervisor) along with an application fee of $200. You will also need to earn a 500 or higher on the EPPP (if your previous score met this requirement, you do not have to retake the exam) and pass the state exams.
In order to receive certification as a school psychologist in Kentucky from the Kentucky Department of Education, you must complete a master’s or specialist-level program in school psychology from a regionally-accredited college or university. This program must be at least 60 graduate semester hours and must also include a 1,200-hour internship, at least 50% of which must be completed in a school setting. Finally, you must take and pass the Praxis II standardized exam. Once all requirements are met, you should apply via the Education Professional Standards Board’s web portal.
You can also get a Provisional Credential, which requires coursework to be completed (no graduate degree) as well as a recommendation from your school and passing the Praxis exam. This credential allows for one year of a full-time internship or two years for a half-time internship and is nonrenewable. Note that if you wish to practice outside of a school setting, you must apply through the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychologists or the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors.
Kentucky Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2021, the average annual salary for a psychologist in Kentucky, excluding postsecondary psychology teachers, was $87,197.1 Specifically, the average salary for clinical and counseling psychologists was $96,290, for school psychologists it was $67,930, for postsecondary psychology teachers in Kentucky the average salary was $63,940 per year, and for psychologists in the “all other” category it was $97,370.1
If you are planning to apply to psychologist jobs in Kentucky, know that the number of positions is expected to increase by an average of 5.6% between 2020 and 2030.2 The outlook is especially good for counseling, clinical, and school psychology positions and industrial-organizational psychology positions, which are expected to rise by 8.4% and 8.3%, respectively.2 Psychology jobs in the “all other” category are expected to decrease by 1.6% during this time period and postsecondary psychology teacher positions are expected to increase by 7.1%.2
|Occupation||Number Employed1||Average Annual Salary1|
|Clinical and Counseling Psychologists||470||$96,290|
|Psychologists, All Other||170||$97,370|
|Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary||440||$63,940|
- Kentucky Association for Psychology in the Schools (KAPS): State organization for school psychologists that provides educational resources and holds an annual conference.
- Kentucky Psychological Association (KPA): State organization with resources (including CE opportunities) for all types of psychologists.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to become a psychologist in Kentucky?
Becoming a psychologist in Kentucky involves a number of different steps, including completing a doctoral degree in psychology, passing three exams, and earning a certain number of supervised hours. Completing all of these steps usually takes about 10 years. However, this amount of time can vary based on factors such as your school’s requirements and when you earn your supervised hours.
What degree do I need to be a licensed psychologist in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, you can earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology, a Doctor of Education (EdD) in psychology, or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) to be qualified to become licensed. Additionally, you must earn your degree from a psychology program that is regionally accredited, includes three semesters of practicum work, meets the Board’s coursework requirements, and involves a 1,800-hour internship.
Does Kentucky require supervised postdoctoral hours to become licensed?
Unlike many other states, Kentucky does not require that any of your supervised professional experience be completed after you have finished your doctoral degree. However, if you have not completed all 3,600 required hours by the time you graduate or if you are planning to pursue designation as a health service provider, you will need to complete some postdoctoral SPE hours.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Kentucky: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ky.htm
2. Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm